Extensive research, exhaustive interviews with experts, and a little forward-looking extrapolation yielded the nine stories presented in this year's "Winners & Losers" report. But recently two emerged as even bigger potential winners than they seemed when we began working on the issue, back in July's summer swelter.
NO LASSO NEEDED
Is Vegas Vic the world's first wireless cowboy?
On 16 November, Motorola Inc. announced it would acquire MeshNetworks Inc., the Florida company whose innovative technology is being used in a Nevada demonstration network [see "Viva Mesh Vegas"]. The next day, Microsoft's TV division reported a US $400 million license with phone giant SBC Communications Inc., in San Antonio, to use its Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) system, the same software being used in the Swiss market trial described in "The Battle for Broadband."
Both deals could transform up-and-coming tech industries. Consider Motorola's purchase of MeshNetworks: when a company with a hand in almost every form of wireless telecommunications announces a plan to integrate mesh networking throughout its product line, the technology goes from maverick to mainstream overnight.
In a mesh, every node of the network is also a transponder, a principle that yields systems with higher data rates, greater network capacity, and lower power requirements. Those advantages are already known to our readers, who learned of MeshNetworks in a June 2003 feature article.
For SBC, Internet-based television is the centerpiece of a multibillion dollar investment to upgrade its aging telephone network and offer new services that boost revenue, making possible—you guessed it—more upgrades and new services. That virtuous cycle won't be limited to San Antonio—IPTV is being tested by carriers on three continents.
We're pleased that a couple of tech titans saw the same potential we did—and were confident enough to bet big on what they saw.